What are the meters with pulse output?
We all know the good old water, power, heat or gas flow meters. They are widely used in the utility industry. Any of us have at least a couple in his home or business.
In order to understand how does it work let’s first focus on what is a pulse.
The Figure on the left illustrates a pulse output signal. Each pulse is characterized with an amplitude and a T_high and T_low. T_high is the duration of the pulse and T_low is anytime between two pulses. There are different kind of pulses.
Pulse ratios and K-factors
Depending of your meter one pulse might mean different things:
For water meters 1 pulse = 1 L, 10 L or 100 L, e.g one pulse is equal to 1, 10 or 100 liters of water
For gas flow meters 1 pulse = 0.01 m3, 0.1 m2 or 1 m3, e.g one pulse is equal to 1/100, 1/10 or 1 cubical meter of natural gas
For electrical energy typically you will get something like 1, 10, 100, 1000 kWh. E.g one pulse is equal to 1, 10, 100 or 1000 kWh.
In many systems the amount of the metered resource equal to one pulse is known as K-factor. K-factor typically has to be specified in the system or the data logger used for pulse counting.
How does a meter with pulse output look like?
You can recognize the meters with that capability by a “cable” or a “place” where you can plug a meter. On the photo to the left the pulse output is the white plug with the cable hooked on the meter.
Typical questions related to buying a meter suitable for smart metering and monitoring:
What kind of a meter to buy with pulse output or with integrated radio module?
It is always better to get a meter with pulse output than a meter with integrated radio module. The integrated module typically could be read only by the vendor of the meter and the pulse output by anybody able to detect a pulse as the one above.
Should we buy a meter with smaller K-factor or with larger?
The smaller the better. Small K-factor will allow pulse generation on small amounts of water, gas, electricity or heat. That will allow fine grain metering and smooth monitoring. Smooth monitoring will allow detection of even the smallest leaks.
How does ThingsLog can help?
We are a company that has started from pulse counting by offering ThingsLog low power mobile data loggers. To complete our offering we have also added a platfrom for Remote metering and monitoring and a mobile app for easy data access and alarms.
So for pulse counting we can recommend the following oferings from our portfolio:
water flow monitoring data logger – suitable for all kinds of water and flow meters with pulse outputs. The logger is a complete offering that comes together with the ThingsLog platform and the mobile app. All you need to do is to connect it to the pulse output of your water meter. With one logger you may monitor simultaneously up to two meters.
Energy monitoring data logger – suitable for monitoring of energy and heat meters with pulse output. That logger is optimized for energy monitoring of pretty much all energy meters with pulse outputs.